Friday, July 17, 2009

#41 – Lituya Bay to Dundas Bay

We pulled the anchor at 8:30, then our prawn traps, and headed for the narrow channel leaning out of Lituya Bay. Slack tide was near 9AM and we wanted a smooth exit. In July 1786 two large oar boats from French Captain La Perouse's expedition capsized at the entrance to the Bay. The boats were sucked out the entrance by the rapid tidal current into breaking seas, drowning all 21 hands. This time we correctly judged the current and passed without incident into a flat Gulf of Alaska.

Today's 60 mile run to Dundas Bay

Actually there was smoother water outside the Bay since the tidal current wasn't in play. Bright sun, no waves and no wind: definitely a sailor's and surfer's nightmare, but a power boater's dream! You could see far up and down the Alaska Gulf coast and deep into the western interior of Glacier Bay National Park. We took several panoramic photos. Wow, what a day!

Panoramic photograph from Lituya Bay entrance about 10 miles south towards the La Perouse Glacier.

The smooth water allowed full galley operations and the crew produced tasty fresh prawn omelets with spuds.

Omelet ingredients.

Completed prawn omelet brunch.

With our stomachs full, we needed to make use of our $55 King Salmon fishing license stamps. As the boat approached Icy point from the north, five salmon long-liners appeared. Through the binoculars we could see a bustle of clubbing activity at the stern of one busy fishing boat, a sure sign that fish were being boated. That was our signal to begin trolling. Bob and Gerard launched the dive planes at 70 pulls, about 35 feet with about 2 knots of speed, and a string the double hook-ups began. Kings, then cohos, then one each. About 7 seven double hook-ups in all. Instead of yelling “hookup” to the boat driver, our modern fishing etiquette entailed a routine “neutral please” instead. We returned many short Kings, kept about three good-sized Cohos and finally landed a legal 28” King keeper.

28” Alaska legal King salmon

A seal almost had a bite out of this King but we rescued him for our table.

After a long, slow run trolling down the Gulf coast we turned east into Icy Strait. The seas maintained their calmness and we moored past Brady Glacier into Dundas Bay for the evening. We fired-up the BBQ.

Brady Glacier from Icy Strait.

Wild Blue BBQ: day old halibut, morning fresh prawns, and afternoon fresh King salmon (not pictured).

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